“NCIS: Hawaii” will welcome a new field agent, when the delayed CBS season of the popular island-filmed procedural premieres Feb. 12.

“Hawaii” will bid aloha – in this case, welcome not goodbye – to NCIS Senior Field Agent Sam Hanna, played by LL Cool J, who has joined the Hawaii cast, following his 14-season tour in sister show “NCIS: Los Angeles,” which shut down at the conclusion of the last season.

It’ll be  a recurring role for the Cool one, who is lending his presence and savvy during the third season of the Hawaii franchise, led by Vanessa Lachey as Special Agent Jane Tennant. Lachey also was happy for Hanna’s joining her here. “This is an amazing opportunity to continue evolving the NCIS franchise,” Lacey told  TVLine and the Cool/Hanna presence.

For Cool, it’s a continuation of the earlier crossover specials with “Hawaii” and “L.A.”

All in the ohana: LL Cool J joins Vanessa Lachey in “NCIS: Hawaii.,”

As the NCIS franchise’s key figures, Cool will bring add vigor and variety when he joins the team here  as a regular to the Pearl Harbor office’s efforts to stop Naval injustice. 

Noah Mills, who plays Jesse Boone on the “Hawaii” team, has expressed support of Agent Hanna on the island show. In an earlier “Entertainment Tonight,” after the SAG-AFTRA strike was settled, he said, “Are you kidding me? I’m so excited I got to work with him on the NCIS crossover ‘The Mothership.’ He’s so cool and just has such a strong presence and is an experienced actor. I mean, he was telling me stories, that guy was going to Studio 54, when he was 16 in New York. He’s done it all. We got a heavyweight coming. So, it’s gonna be great.” 

Cool posted on X, formerly Twitter, “Couldn’t keep Sam Hanna off the case for too long!!”

“NCIS,” the original flagship of the franchise, will also premiere Feb. 12 at 7 p.m., preceding the Hawaii show at 8 p.m. — a great lead-in for the local hit. …

Two musicals open this weekend

Diamond Head Theatre’s production of Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” premieres tomorrow night (Dec. 1), for a run though Dec. 30. This includes extension dates, beyond the earlier Dec. 17 closing.

Bryce Chaddick is directing. Anna Young is cast as Eliza Doolittle, and Garrett Hols and David Young are double-cast as Henry Higgins. (David is the spouse of Anna). Eli Foster will portray Colonel Pickering.


Mo‘olele Studio’s “The Year Christmas Was Almost Cancelled,” a holiday original by Kyle Kakuno (script) and Roslyn Catracchia (music), opens tomorrow night (Dec. 1) for a Dec. 1 to 23 residency at Mamiya Theatre, on the Saint Louis School/Chaminade University campus.

The show premiered last season, and appears to becoming an annual holiday attraction. A pre-show as well post-performance program are part of the agenda, so go early and stay a bit later after exiting.

Many of the original cast are back.


‘Lion’ gross nearly $3 million

Five Broadway musicals have a lot to be thankful for – like grosses topping $2 million — becoming members of the $2 million club as leaders on the Great White Way. Apparently, the Thanksgiving holiday must’ve included a dessert of a hit show, if the Broadway League rundown is an indication.

The champion – Disney’s “The Lion King” – nearly topped $3 million, in figures for the week ending Nov. 26. The Top 10:

1 – “The Lion King,” $2,912 million.

2 – “Wicked,” $2,753 million,

3 —  “Hamilton,” $2,293 million.

4—“ Merrily We Roll Along,” $2,046 million.

5—“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” $2,027 million.

6 – “MJ The Musical,” $1,384 million.

7 – “Aladdin,” $1,881 million.

8—“ Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” $1,284 million,

9—“ Back To The Future: The Musical,” $1,814 million.

10—”Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” $1,807 million.

The full list:

And that’s Show Biz …


Don’t ask me why, but I’m particularly fond of these six Christmas pins…so I’ll likely keep ‘em for perhaps a season.

The little boy charm has, what else, charm.

 The six wee glass Christmas trees make me ponder the three wise men  (I made about six of these pins, since I had a bunch of the little trees).

Two Christmas bulbs reflect the classic hues of the holidays, red and green.

 I adore the little green gingerbread boy; made me recall the “Sesame Street” anthem, ”It’s not easy being green,” sung by Kermit the frog.

The mini nutcracker in wood is “different,” with its tall hat and sit-down pose with two black boots sticking out in its sitting position.

This Santa’s cap features an iridescent red glow, plus a customary cotton-white pompom and band.

Each pin possesses a story of its own, eh?


A Hawaii lad from Kaneohe, Ezekiel Ko‘iaweawe Gamiao Kekuna, is one of four minor actors who will join the cast of the  phenomenal Tony Award-winning  Disney musical, “The Lion King,” beginning Dec. 5.

Zeke, who is a sixth grader at Kapunahala Elementary School, will portray Young Simba, sharing the role with Albert Rhodes Jr., with two girls, Annika Franklin and Nia Thompson, double-cast as Young Nala.

All the youths are making their debut on the Great White Way.

Zeke, pictured, who has been in rehearsals in New York for the past month, is no stranger to the stage. He has been a part of the I’m a Bright Kid (Foundation) Summer Program every year since 2018 and has an enviable list of credits, including Diamond Head Theatre’s “The Bodyguard” and in IABK’s “This is Me” at Paliku Theatre. He also has performed with Marcelo Pacleb’s 24-VII Danceforce group.

But musicals are in Zeke’s family DNA, since brother Ezra Kekuna, and sister Azaliah Kekuna also sing, act and dance, following in the footsteps of their mother, Sarahlea Gamiao Kekuna whose mentor was the late Ron Bright, at Castle High School and Paliku. Mom Sarahlea is accompanying Zeke on this journey, so dad Kawaiolu “Billy” Kekuna is home, holding down the fort.

In the past, Hawaii minors – now adult actors – have performed on the Broadway stage. “Les Miserables,” another hot ticket, has featured Jason Tam as Gavroche, Ryan Rumbaugh as Gavroche, and Janel Parrish as Young Cosette. This year, Milo Maharlika is touring in “Les Miz,” portraying Gavroche, but his is not a Broadway gig.

Zeke is earning his union card, with this engagement, and he’s truly lucky: “The Lion King” is Broadway’s hottest ticket now, with a gross of $1,944,894 for the week ending Nov. 19. (See chart below).

Customarily, Broadway companies offer six-month contracts to youth actors, since they shoot up – get tall – pretty quickly and there is a height restrictions for certain roles.

Zeke is of Filipino, Hawaiian, African-American, Native-American, Irish and English descent – a walking United Nation – and with his joy and potential, who knows? He could play Simba, the father lion, or Scar, the nasty uncle, when he’s older, in the next chapter of his career.

“He’s a wonderful performer and a great kid,” said a proud Allan Lau, president of the I’m a Bright Kid Foundation, about Zeke’s Broadway opportunity. Lau oversees the company’s summer program, where the seed was sowed in Zeke’s journey to the stage, almost as if Mr. B scripted this achievement. It’s a feather in the Bright franchise….

More good news for IABK

It’s been nothing but good news for IABK, which received a $25,000 donation from the Honolulu Cookie Company, which is commemorate its 25th anniversary, with grants to three local non-profits. IABK is one, along with the Malama Aina Foundation and Kupu.
“Honolulu Cookie Company has supported our summer program since its inception in 2017,” said IABK. “A heartfelt mahalo to Ryan Sung, President of Honolulu Cookie Company; Keith and Janet Sung, Executive Vice Presidents; and Kathy Arasaki, Senior Vice President. We are so grateful for your support.” …

“The Lion King” drawing nearly $2 million

Zeke is joining the Disney musical at a great time; for the week ending Nov. 19 (newer figures are due this week). The show is just a whisker away from the $2 million mark.

See the grosses, courtesy The Broadway Group:

And that’s Show Biz. …


One reason I’m extra thankful this Thanksgiving today.

It’s our 55th anniversary for Vi and me.

We customarily have been celebrating Nov. 23 — for the past few decades, anyway — with a dinner for two at Roy’s in Hawaii Kai.

But being Thanksgiving day, and my recent health issues, we’ll toast with a quiet dinner at home.

I am particularly grateful for Vi’s comforting support following my health challenges in early August when I was hospitalized for 10 days in Queen’s. She has been nursing me 24/7 since, and the journey continues. Love you, Vi. And mahalo plenty.